Stress, it’s a nasty 6 letter word. No one wants to be stressed, but if you look around, it appears a lot of people are. Take Sue who I saw for fertility issues. She wants to have a baby but came off the pill and hasn’t had a period for the last 10 months. Medications didn’t help and she was at her wits end.
When I spoke to Sue at first asking her about her stress levels she said they were moderate. I then went on to ask about her job and she told me she was working 55 hours per week, on call as necessary, disturbed sleep due to waking up thinking about her job, skipping meals and not enough time to do what she loves, especially exercise.
As Sue progressed on our program she followed every step I discuss in The Fertility Bible, Your 5 Step Fertility Solution to Becoming Pregnant Naturally or with IVF, EXCEPT step number 5, addressing stress. She had an optimal eating plan, took her supplements religiously, removed any product from her house that she could find that contained chemicals, and even started to find a few hours a week to exercise. I would recommend meditation and visualization exercises but she never found time to do them.
Then one day she and her partner decided to move and Sue would have to leave her job. Knowing that she was going, she decided to scale back her hours, and she then found some time to meditate 15 mins each day, join a yoga class, and continue the rest of the 5 Step Fertility Solution. The cycle after she finally quit her job, her period started again. Clearly the stress of her job was impacting her reproductive system and therefore her fertility.
You hear so many conflicting opinions about whether stress impacts fertility. Many experts will tell you stress does not impact fertility but studies show a very different story.
One small study in the Journal of Human reproduction shows that women who conceived reported lower stress levels on the month they conceived versus on the months they did not conceive. This study discussed the benefit of Autogenic Training, a series of short visualization strategies done throughout the day, as being a helpful tool to reduce stress by reducing psychological and biochemical stress marker scores.
Another study published in the International Journal of Fertility showed women dealing with fertility issues were more stressed than fertile women with a subset of women with significantly high stress levels and subsequent spikes in prolactin levels which can in turn effect estrogen.
Women attending the Mind Body Institute pioneered by Dr. Alice Domar, an IVF specialist from Boston IVF have increased rates of pregnancy after the 7 week program which includes effective stress management techniques.
So the potential of psychological stress to impact fertility is certainly real, however there are plenty of stressed out women becoming pregnant. So why is stress not effecting their ability to conceive?
It is important to remember that each of us are different. We all have different genetics and therefore we have tendencies to express our genetic predispositions differently.
For example if I had 10 obese women (obesity is a form of physiological stress on the system), one of them will develop diabetes, another may develop arthritis, another may develop high blood pressure, another may have fertility issues and one may have high cholesterol and another may live to she is 100. Stress on the system whether from emotional stress or physiological stress will affect each person in a unique way.
The answer for both scenarios is to decrease the stress on the system to decrease the chance that these stressors will impact fertility. The answer for the obese woman is straightforward, i.e. lose weight to decrease the physiological stress and improve fertility. The answer for the person with unexplained fertility issues that may or may not recognize the amount of emotional and or physiological stress is not quite as straightforward because effective stress management techniques are not often discussed in the medical setting. Unfortunately effective strategies like yoga and meditation or visualization have not yet been accepted into the mainstream in many places.
This thankfully is changing. Visualization techniques which generally lead to a meditative state are showing their benefits. Circle + Bloom have a comprehensive visualization program specifically designed for couples dealing with the many different faces of fertility issues. I have found their Happy Mind and Healthy Body program to be fantastic, and they have visualization programs for women with polycystic ovaries, women going through IVF and also visualization to work towards improving energy and improving sleep.
To check out and if you like you can purchase their programs at this link. And remember Sue, she is now 6 months pregnant and wondering why she waited so long to address her stress levels.
For a limited time receive 17% OFF Sharkeys Healing Centre Consultation through our Fertility Deals.
Former physiotherapist turned Herbalist and naturopath Stacey Roberts has been involved in health care since 1989 in both conventional and complementary medicine. Stacey is an internationally recognised natural fertility and women’s health expert who has assisted people in over 32 countries with improving their overall health and wellbeing by addressing their physical, physiological, and psychological health with complementary products and services. Her clinic has helped couples created over 5000 babies. Most were told it would never happen for them.
Stacey is an international speaker, and best selling author. Her book The Fertility Bible: Your Five Step Fertility Solution to Becoming Pregnant Naturally or with IVF, is available at her clinic and on smart phones via Kindle around the world. She has authored and or co authored over 7 books/ebooks and has been featured on World News Now in New York, A Current Affair, Oprah, filmed by the Discovery Channel , Sunrise in Sydney, and WIN TV among other radio and television shows in the US and Australia. Stacey and Sharkey’s have been featured in the popular magazines Australia Vogue and Grazia. Newspapers such as the Gold Coast Bulletin and Brisbane’s Courier Mail have featured Stacey and the Sharkeys team as well. Sharkeys Healing Centre under the direction of Stacey has received the 2007 Stevie Award for the Best OVerall Company in Asia (Subcontinent Australia and New Zealand).
Stacey is continuing to develop and enhance programs to optimise womens health and couples fertility and pre and postnatal care programs to promote overall hormone health by using a 5 step process she created to address nutrient depletion and optimise hormone function. Stacey also uses high quality nutritional products as well as traveling through Australia and the US holding workshops and giving talks around the world.